Dear Suzie, I know he is truly in love with me. I believe with all my heart we are destined to be together. We’ve got so much going for us. But there’s a big problem. We are both married. He doesn’t want to leave his wife and kids, and I don’t want to leave my husband and family. But we both love each other. I feel so lost. At night, I am lying next to my husband and I wish it were him. He tells me he feels the same thing. I really believe I have finally found the man of my dreams, the one great love of my life, and yet we can’t be together. How could life be so unfair?
Make no mistake. It’s emotions here that are in control. And once emotions take over, people stop thinking clearly. In fact, much of what you described comes down to purely irrational thinking. What is irrational thinking? It’s thinking that is being filtered through your emotions instead of through your logic.
It becomes difficult to tell what is truly valuable from what is valueless. The inability to distinguish between these two extremes leaves us more vulnerable to making mistakes. The thing to note here is this:
There’s a huge difference between things that are desired and things that are truly desirable.
It seems that your emotions may have temporarily blocked this reality from you.
Think about it.
Here you are, a free woman, living in a free country. You have been given the highest opportunities to express yourself, to be creative, to live your life to the fullest, and yet you feel trapped by your own choices.
Let’s look closely at what’s happening.
Key Insight: Life is about choices.
The power to make choices is the one superpower we all have.
Obviously, your first choice was for your husband and your family. This is a choice you made of your own free will, because at the time, that choice was something you truly wanted. But along the way, that choice must have fallen short of your expectations.
Think about it like this.
Imagine last year, you bought a fantastic pair of expensive shoes. Now at the time, those shoes were the hottest thing going. But today, even though they have fallen out of fashion, you still wear them because they are comfortable and you love them. Then one day, as you’re walking by a shoe store, you see a new, hotter pair of shoes… and instantly… a thrill races through your veins. You find yourself at another moment of decision. The question becomes, should you trade in the comfortable for the new?
You wonder things like:
- Will it fit better?
- Will it feel better?
- Will it make your life better?
- Will it bring back those old feelings?
Eventually, you can’t help but compare the new with the old. And it’s no surprise that when you compare an old pair of comfortable shoes with the hot trendy new pair, the old pair just seems to come up short in some areas… especially in the areas of newness and excitement.
What’s the point?
It’s that marriage can get so comfortable, it feels like an old pair of shoes… and the affair partner can become a lot like the hot, shiny, new shoes. So, what if you can’t decide between the two? That’s when affairs come into the picture.
You see, what it comes down to is this:
Having an affair is your attempt to keep the comfort of the “old and familiar” while secretly adding “novelty and newness” back into the mix. This is an attempt not to choose (which, of course, is still a choice).
Key Insight: An extramarital affair is only ONE way to experience both the old and the new at the same time. And it’s certainly not the best way. (More on this later.)
Here’s the truth:
Both relationships are your choice.
One makes you feel trapped and the other seems to represent freedom. AND YET… both are your choice. (It doesn’t make sense, does it?) That’s because if you think about it, the only way people can be trapped is if: (a) they have no choice, OR (b) their choices have been made for them (same thing, really).
In your situation, this is clearly not the case. You’re not being coerced into staying married OR into having an affair. The truth is that you have actually volunteered for both of these experiences.
As you begin to think about this rationally, it becomes obvious that both relationships are equally your choice. (This changes the nature of the question.)
Now, it becomes a question of priorities, doesn’t it?
The question becomes, which choice is the higher choice? Which road has the better chance of leading you to enduring fulfillment?
Key Insight: Maturity is the ability to discern the things in life that are truly valuable from the things that are valueless. (I want you to think about this for a moment.)
To help you better determine your priorities, ask yourself the following three questions.
- What do you really value?
- What do you really cherish?
- What do you really want?
As the old saying goes, a new broom sweeps clean.
In other words, almost anyone can look good in the beginning, but that newness wears off. That’s why True Love isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision.
Here’s one more thing to consider:
What if you made the decision to truly love your husband?
What if you were to decide to treat him as if he were the new choice instead of yesterday’s news? What if you looked at him as if he were the latest toy? And what if you were to direct all that excitement and giddiness towards him? After he recovered from the shock, of course, what do you think might happen? I think you’d be surprised. You see, it only takes a single moment to make a breakthrough. This can be that moment for you.
Putting it all together…
Remember, I told you that having an affair is only one way to have both newness and familiarity?
And I also said it’s not the best way (as you’ve already discovered). Well, I also promised to tell you about another infinitely more satisfying way — a way that is honest, pure, romantic, passionate, and totally legal.
For more information on that, read my article The Passionate Monogamy Manifesto.
For now, here’s something to consider about affairs that might surprise you.
All affair partners are chasing a similar dream — the desire for newness and adventure (both natural desires by the way). And I believe that there’s nothing wrong with wanting newness, romance and adventure in your life.
But here’s the problem with trying to get those desires met via an extramarital affair:
It’s a bit like trying to get honey from a beehive. In order to get it, you must be willing to steal it from a hive of potentially angry bees who are protecting it. But unfortunately, in the beehive of an extramarital affair, there’s no actual honey to be found (just the promise of honey). So, what most people end up with is a lot of angry bees, some painful stings, and no actual reward.
I believe on some level, most affair partners recognize the wisdom of these arguments, and yet even after reading and agreeing with them, a percentage will still choose to overlook them. Why?
Here’s my theory:
I believe it’s because deep down, many of us want to believe the rules don’t apply to us. We convince ourselves that our situations, our circumstances, our lovers, our relationships, our experiences, our affairs… are different.
In other words, many will view themselves as the exception and not the example… of what it means to be the other woman or man. If you have fallen into this group, watch out because the wake-up call is just around the corner.
Key Insight: Hubris (ego) says “I am the exception.” Humility (love) says “I am the example.”
Remember this. You and I are not the exception on the planet. We are the examples.
This reminder keeps us humble, and it keeps us grounded.
You see, your experiences, while unique, are still pretty universal. What this tells you is that the same principles and laws (like gravity) that apply to others ALSO apply to you.
And one of those universal laws is the law of right action. It states: “Only right actions produce right results.”
This law has been observed and interpreted by every culture, every religion, and in every language on earth.
- As you sow, so shall you reap.
- What goes around, comes around.
- What you give is what you get.
- For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
What it boils down to is this:
You and I do not live in a vacuum. Our actions have consequences. If we want to reap good consequences, then we must sow good actions.
And if you want to get right results, you must take the right actions.
How do you determine right actions from wrong actions?
By asking yourself one simple question: “Is this something I would want done unto me?”
Let that answer be your guide.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!